Burden of cancer in Kenya: types, infection-attributable and trends. A national referral hospital retrospective survey
Macharia, Lucy W
Mureithi, Marianne W
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Background: Cancer in Africa is an emerging health problem. In Kenya it ranks third as a cause of death after infectious and cardiovascular diseases. Nearly 31% of the total cancer burden in sub-Saharan Africa is attributable to infectious agents. Information on cancer burden is scanty in Kenya and this study aimed to provide comprehensive hospital based data to inform policies. Method: A cross-sectional retrospective survey was conducted at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) from 2008 to 2012. Data was obtained from the patients files and the study was approved by the KNH/University of Nairobi and MTRH Ethics and Research Committees. Results: In KNH, the top five cancers were: cervical (62, 12.4%), breast (59, 11.8%), colorectal (31, 6.2%), chronic leukemia (27, 5.4%) and stomach cancer 26 (5.2%). Some 154 (30.8%) of these cancers were associated with infectious agents, while an estimated 138 (27.6%) were attributable to infections. Cancers of the cervix (62, 12.4%), stomach (26, 5.2%) and nasopharynx (17, 3.4%) were the commonest infection-associated cancers. In MTRH, the five common types of cancers were Kaposi’s sarcoma (93, 18.6%), breast (77, 15.4%), cervical (41, 8.2%), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (37, 7.4%) and colorectal, chronic leukemia and esophageal cancer all with 27 (5.4%). Some 241 (48.2%) of these cancers were associated with infectious agents, while an estimated 222 (44.4%) were attributable to infections. Kaposi’s sarcoma (93, 18.6%), cancer of the cervix (41, 8.2%) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (37, 7.4%) were the commonest infection-associated cancers. Conclusion: Our results suggest that30.8% and 48.2% of the total cancer cases sampled in KNH and MTRH respectively were associated with infectious agents, while 27.6% and 44.4% were attributable to infections in the two hospitals respectively. Reducing the burden of infection-attributable cancers can translate to a reduction of the overall cancer burden.
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